The Latin vote is a misleading concept. There is not much in common between the Texas Latinos, long settled in the rather rural state, and the Arizona Latinos, concentrated in Maricopa County around Phoenix, born in abroad in a larger proportion and more anti-Trump. Or the Latinos in Florida, a third of whom are Cuban and pre-Republicans.
Anyway, Latinos are now the largest minority in the country: 60 million in 2019 – of which 18.6 million are under 18 – or 24 million more than in 2000. And they are now more numerous than blacks in the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center, with 32 million voters likely to participate in the Nov. 3 poll. Two-thirds of them live in five states: California (7.9 million), Texas (5.6 million), Florida (3.1 million), New York (2 million) and Arizona (1 , 2 million). The stakes are also high in three of the main swing states : Pennsylvania has 521,000 potential Latino voters, Michigan 261,000 and Wisconsin 183,000. In 2016, the election was decided in these three states, out of a total of 77,744 votes.
The challenge for the candidates is to get them to register on the electoral roll. Latino participation – historically low – gave birth to the expression “The sleeping giant” to qualify the Hispanic vote, which takes a long time to wake up. In 2016, it had been 47.6%, against 48% in 2012, believing forecasts – and Democratic hopes – of a surge Latino (“push”) provoked by Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. “In general, the categories that vote the least are the young, the poor and the uneducated. Many Latinos find themselves in these categories ”, explains Joseph Garcia of the Chicanos por la causa association.
But Latino participation is on the rise. According to a census bureau report, it fell from 27% in 2014 to 40.4% in 2018, two years after Donald Trump won, a record for a midterm election. But, overall, it remains lower than that of non-Hispanic whites (65.3%), blacks (47%) and Asians (56%).
This year, Democrats are particularly counting on the mobilization of young people (according to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Naleo, more than 60,000 young people reach voting age each month), although they have instead chosen Bernie Sanders for the primaries. They also rely on women, traditionally more numerous to go to the polls: 43% participation in 2018 among Latinas, against 37% among men, a “Gender gap” significantly more important than among other American voters. According to a Pew Research Center poll released on Oct. 16 that looked at subscribers, 67% of Latinas prefer Joe Biden, compared to 59% of men.
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